Times are tough but the cannabis industry is tougher, and Grow-Off founders Sam Taylor and Jake Browne are proving it.
Based in Colorado, Grow-Off is a competition between states’ best cannabis growers, and, despite COVID-19, Taylor and Browne are pushing forward with it. This year’s winners were announced October 24 via a virtual livestream awards show. Not only was the public invited to watch for the first time, but the event included performances by Rachel Wolfson, David Gborie, and Doug Benson.
“Real cannabis OGs are a group of highly adaptable problem-solvers, so I think a pandemic was just another day at the grow,” Taylor told Westword. “In many cases, we’re hearing that retailers can’t keep product on shelves and business is booming.”
The two founders test each competitor’s submission for yield, cannabinoid profile, and terpene count. Teams are judged based on their growing skills. Each contestant begins with the same strain genetics. The winners (which are kept secret until the event) are then chosen based on third-party lab tests.
This year, with a quality score of 247, Hummingbird Cannabis came in first place and third place, with a score of 188. Grow Life came in second place with a score of 225. For the commercial potency competition, Fat Face Farms came in first with a 30.8% cannabinoid score. GrowLytics and Hummingbird Cannabis came in second and third consecutively. Grow-Off did not award yield this year.
Next year, Taylor and Browne plan to extend the competition to Oklahoma, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Michigan. The contest currently includes Colorado, California, and Oregon.
“Oregon is quietly growing some of the best cannabis in the country, and you’re seeing defectors from NorCal that are fed up with the legalization infrastructure there heading north. You’ve got Yoopers in Michigan that have indoor down to a science and will be making waves once that market is fully opened,” Jake Browne said. “But our buddy Dane says it best: “Growers are the phenotype.” The reason that cannabis doesn’t go away is because it can be grown anywhere; who grows it is what really matters.”